How to Install an Inground Pool Liner

When your vinyl inground swimming pool liner is damaged, dingy, or faded, it’s time to install a new one. You could call a professional installer to do it for you, or you could save thousands of dollars by simply doing it yourself. It may sound like a complicated process, but it’s actually pretty simple and requires tools that most people already have at home. Our handy guide will tell you everything you need to know in order to quickly and easily replace your vinyl liner.

1.) Measure Your Pool Liner

It is very important that you measure your pool accurately so you will get a good fit with your new liner. Our convenient measuring form provides detailed instructions for measuring your pool. Follow the instructions exactly and double check your measurements. Completing the entire measuring form allows our pool specialists to customize the right liner for your pool. Do not hesitate to give us a call if you need advice on measuring your pool.

After measurements are complete, please select the liner color and pattern. Doheny’s offers over 30 different liner patterns for you to choose from. Keep in mind that a darker liner pattern helps to heat up your pool naturally with the sun’s rays. When you are ready to place your order, give us a call so we can make sure we get everything exactly right.

2.) Gather Your Supplies

To make your job easier, gather all of the tools and supplies that you need for the job. This includes:

  • Submersible pump
  • Shop vac and mop
  • Screw driver
  • Utility knife
  • Broom
  • Duct tape
  • Wall foam and spray adhesive (optional)
  • Garden hose
  • New gaskets and faceplates for skimmer, lights, main drain, return jets, etc.

3.) Drain the Pool

Drain your pool using a sump pump. Be sure to discharge the water in an area where it will not cause flooding or damage to property. There may be rules in your area about draining pools; check with the city or town where you live. The pool needs to be completely dry, so use a shop vac, mop, or towels to suck up every last bit of water from the pool floor.

4.) Remove the Old Pool Liner

Remove the old faceplates and gaskets around the skimmer, main drain, lights, return fittings, and pool steps. Then cut out the old liner using a utility knife. For easy removal, cut several sections a few feet wide across the width of the pool. Remove the sections, and dispose of them.

5.) Prepare the Pool Walls and Floor

Carefully examine your pool walls for cracks, damage, rust, or rough spots. Repair any damage before moving on. If you are unsure how to make a repair, send us an email or give us a call, and we will guide you through the repair process.

It is very important to make sure your pool is completely clean before you install the liner. Wash and use a broom to scrub everything from top to bottom. Apply duct tape to the wall seams for a smooth finish on your liner. If you are installing wall foam, spray the walls with spray adhesive and attach the foam.

Make sure there is no water at the bottom of the pool, and remove any dirt or pebbles from concrete or vermiculite floors. For pools with a sand bottom, be sure it is smooth, and do not leave any footprints.

6.) Install the New Pool Liner

This step will require a team of 2 or 3 people for best results. Carefully open the box without puncturing the liner. Position the liner in the pool according to the included instructions.

Begin to hang your liner in the track, inserting the liner beads into the liner track at each of the corners first. Then work your way around the entire edge of the pool, pulling up slack and shifting the liner as needed.

Tighten up the liner and reduce wrinkles with your wet/dry vacuum. Pull a little liner off the track near the midsection of the pool and insert the vac hose there behind the liner. A depth of 6-12 inches usually works, but go deeper if needed. Use duct tape to tape up around the hose to prevent air loss. Turn on your vacuum - your liner should be nice and tight within a few minutes. Very large pools might need more than one vacuum set on either side of the pool. Turn off the vacuum(s) and try smoothing any leftover small wrinkles out by hand. If necessary, you may need to shift the liner to remove larger wrinkles.

7.) Fill the Pool

Add water to your pool with a garden hose, starting in the deep end. Turn off the wet/dry vac you used to tighten the liner after there is 6 inches of water in the shallow end. Remove the hose and the duct tape, pushing the liner back in the track and smoothing it out. Install the new gasket and faceplate on the main drain when you see 12 inches of water at the bottom of the pool, then cut out the center with a utility knife. Wait to install the other new gaskets and faceplates on the skimmers, lights, and return jets until the water is within 6” of them. Install the seal strips for the stairs when there is at least 12 inches of water in the shallow end.

Fill your pool so that the water level is at the halfway mark on the mouth of the skimmer, and start your pool pump system. Now that you have a brand new pool liner and fresh clean water, be sure to balance your pool water and add your start-up chemicals. With regular pool maintenance and properly balanced water, your liner will stay beautiful for many years to come.

Replacing an inground pool liner is no small task, but it’s a completely manageable DIY project for any savvy pool owner. If you have any questions during the installation process, call our friendly experts today at 800-574-7665 or visit us online at